(m)orning EP

Written by: PP on 25/05/2009 18:15:19

I had more or less written Mae off after their lackluster 2007 album "Singularity", but as music history tells us in so many cases, one average album doesn't necessarily mean that the band has drained its songwriting resource completely, especially if they used to write amazing songs that touched so many folk across the world. Well, a year and a half has passed since then, and the pause has evidently been enough for Mae to discover a brand new, completely untapped part in their songwriting that we haven't previously heard: "(m)orning" EP doesn't just see Mae bounce back, it's a nothing short of an astonishing record that has swept aside all the band's previous output both in terms of musical direction and sheer brilliance. "(m)orning" EP is the best material Mae has written to date. But before we get into the actual music, it's important to understand the background for the record. First off, the physical copy of the EP will only be sold on tour (though digital is available), and all process will be donated to charities chosen by the band's fans. The band goes on to state: "(m)orning represents the beginning of the day, the beginning of the year, and the beginning of a life...This is the season to focus on youth and help instill appreciation for music and the arts. Music is the world's language. It has the ability to bridge nations and to connect people...These are the issues of Morning: (M)usic (A)rt (E)ducation". Second off, the EP is the first in a three-part series of EPs: "(a)fternoon" EP will be released sometime in the summer, whilst "(e)evening" comes out in late fall/winter. It's a small detail, I know, but notice how putting the first letters of each EP together gives the band name. The reason I mention the obvious is because the record is full of intricacies like that, demonstrating just how much work the band has put into the small details to create a record that defines artistic completeness.

From the first moments of "The Fisherman Song (We All Need Love)", you can tell that the band has changed in vast proportions. Their delicate, keyboard-assisted indie rock/pop punk combination has been shoved aside in favour of a more progressive platform. The EP's two centerpieces, the aforementioned track and "The House That Fire Built" have so many nuances from post-hardcore that it's impossible to classify this band as just indie rock anymore. But lets talk about the former first: it's an 8½ minute mammoth (!! for Mae) that plays heavily on a quiet/loud dynamic, with soft, semi-acoustic guitars building up the song together with some touching (and infectiously catchy) lyrics. The song gets gradually louder and louder with the first post-hardcore part appearing around three minutes into the song, but the explosive final two minutes of the song are breathtaking. When drummer Jacob Marshall starts his rapid-fire pounding that finishes off into vocalist Dave Elkins screaming (cleanly) from the top of his lungs "WE ALL NEEEED LOOOVEEEEE!!" whilst the rest of the band is pummeling away at post-hardcore volumes, you can't but stand back in awe over how brilliantly the band has constructed this song: The way small details and the lyrical theme play together for an eruption of post-hardcore amazingness in the end. The way Elkins pours his heart out at the end of the song, sounding better than ever before. Simply said, this is the best song I've heard this year, maybe even in the last two years.

So how on earth do you follow up such an amazing song that both sounds precisely like Mae and not at all like Mae? You throw in another seven minute masterpiece, "The House That Fire Built", which uses precisely the same progressive indie-tinged post-hardcore platform as the song before. There's less of a quiet/loud dynamic, but on the other hand, the song is way catchier and you can't but sing along to "So I left that fire... I started a new one... started a new oneeeee" bits. At the same time it's important to mention that the band are still at their loudest and most post-hardcore to date. Thinking back to songs like "Summertime" and "Sun", it's beginning to be impossible to realize that this is still the same band that wrote those songs. And you know what the funny thing is? I loved those songs to bits before hearing "(m)orning EP", and now they sound crappy in comparison. What do you know. "Boomerang" brings back some of the old Mae sound through its summery sound, but here too, the guitars are louder, Elkins sings with more passion and power, the songs is retardedly catchy, the acoustic guitar is more complex than it ever has been for the band, and the soundscape is absolutely immense. Pay attention to the playful last minute or so to the song that seamlessly connects it together with the all-instrumental "Two Birds" and its experimentation with flutes, although the sounds themselves may come from a keyboard. I'm not sure.

The remaining two tracks of the EP may not blow the listener away to the same extent as the first four tracks, but frankly if they did, there would be no way to grade this other than 10. "A Melody, The Memory" is still among the best tracks Mae has written, and it continues on the heavier music platform that the band has toyed with throughout the EP. "Night Day" is probably the most reminiscent of old Mae, being mostly a soft, delicate indie rock track, though here too the band explodes towards the end of the song. There's even a metallic solo, and if you're thinking it's impossible to fit that into the Mae instrumental landscape, then welcome to the fucking club. But somehow it does. Finally, "(m)orning Drive" finishes the EP off with a relaxing all-instrumental track that's both similar and completely different to "Two Birds" at the same time (frankly you need to hear it to understand it). The instruments then fade out, and the only sounds remaining are birds singing and the band walking in the woods, greeting each other with a "good morning". Sounds weird, but it really is the perfect finish to an amazing EP. "(M)orning EP" is the best EP I've heard in a long time. Don't miss out on it.


Download: The Fisherman Song (We All Need Love)
For the fans of: Copeland, Sherwood, Fightstar (I'm serious)
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.04.2009

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